Banks and utilities led Greek stocks higher in thick trade yesterday, as European shares rose for the fifth straight session. The Athens Exchange (ATHEX) general index closed 0.99 percent higher at 4,800.63 points, after rising by as much as 1.86 percent. The index fluctuated around 50-60 points, a repetition of the last few sessions. The FTSE/ATHEX 20 blue chip index added 1.37 percent, the FTSE/ATHEX Mid-40 gained 0.46 percent and the FTSE/ATHEX 80 small-cap index nudged 0.03 percent up. The FTSE/ATHEX International was 1.21 percent higher. The Public Power Corporation (PPC) resumed recent hefty gains, surging 4.78 percent to -22.78 on positive analysts’ reports, bellwether National Bank gained on a par with Wednesday’s session, climbing 3.32 percent to -42.98, Piraeus Bank advanced 2.62 percent to -23.50, Viohalco was 2.16 percent higher at -10.40, Eurobank rose 1.88 percent to -24.96 and Intralot gained 1.63 percent to reach -25.00. Turnover rose to -539.01 million, with -100.9 million in block trades. National Bank accounted for -83.59 million and OTE telecom for -80.42 million. Analysts said the market would have to be tested at present levels for two or three more sessions before the general index could be considered relatively safe around 4,800 points.